Home > Crime > Christian-Newsom – The State Steps In

Christian-Newsom – The State Steps In


Lemaricus Davidson, convicted as the ringleader in the torture-killings of Channon Christian, 21 and Chris Newsom, 23, will stand trial on April 16 for robbing a Pizza Hut a day after the killings.

Troy Weston, Davidson’s lawyer, was in court last week to have the testimony of two witnesses thrown out.  He argued the store manager and another witness to the robbery identified Davidson from a photo lineup two days after the robbery.  It was at that time, Knoxville police distributed Davidson’s picture as a “person of interest” in the couple’s deaths.  Weston claims Davidson was identified only after the community was deluged with his image.

Assistant District Attorney General Leland Price said it was a fair lineup and reminded the court Davidson admitted to the robbery after his arrest in the Christian-Newsom murders.

Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood denied the motion so both witnesses will take the stand.

Blackwood is still moving ahead with the retrials trials for the four defendants in the torture-murder as he announced he has decided the locales from which juries will be selected.

The Knox County District Attorney’s office filed an appeal in January to block the retrials.

The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office has now stepped in and is asking the state Court of Criminal Appeals to put a hold on the new trials. The AG’s office is only challenging the ruling in the cases of Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas.  They are not trying to block the retrial of Vanessa Coleman.

The Attorney General’s Office said there was no proof of Baumgartner’s impairment on the bench during the trials of Davidson, Cobbins, and Thomas.  His behavior off the bench did not impact the fairness of those trials. “As our filings state, a review of the records confirms that these three defendants were not denied fair trials.”

The AG’s Office argued Judge Blackwood failed to show any constitutional failures in the Davidson, Cobbins, or Thomas trials.

The AG’s Office could not say the same in regards to Vanessa Coleman.  They noted prosecutors Leland Price and Takisha Fitzgerald saw Baumgartner weaving in traffic on his way back from jury selection in Coleman’s case and he was visibly disoriented when the verdict was announced in her case.

It is now up to the appellate court to decide whether to allow the appeal and delay new trials or reject the application.


Torture-killing ringleader Lemaricus Davidson facing trial in Pizza Hut robbery

Judge keeping under wraps jury pool locations in torture slaying retrials

State files appeal for retrial in Christian-Newsom case

State asks appellate court to review new trials order in torture-slayings

  1. ritanita
    03/03/2012 at 8:04 am

    Morning, donchais!

    “As our filings state, a review of the records confirms that these three defendants were not denied fair trials.”

    I do hope that the decision to re-try those three will be overturned on appeal. Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas got what they deserved. It’s a shame that Coleman’s jury didn’t understand the role she played and went so very light on her. While a retrial can’t increase her sentence, an intelligent jury will not give her any less than what she’s already gotten.

    I fully understand Blackwood’s repugnance for Baumgartner, but his decision was based on emotion, not the law.

    I do hope that they stream the Pizza Hut robbery trials.

  2. donchais
    03/03/2012 at 8:20 am

    For the sake of the families, I too hope they don’t have to suffer through retrails!

  3. 03/03/2012 at 9:24 am

    Politically incorrect it may be, but with the right jury and the poisonous political atmosphere where everything is about racism now, this vermin might be set free. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and there will be no retrials.

  4. ritanita
    03/03/2012 at 9:25 am

    Absolutely! Those poor people have suffered so much. There were two horrific murders and the grief of knowing Channon and Chris suffered beyond human comprehension. There were preliminary hearings and four difficult trials where they had to testify. It will happen again for Coleman, and that’s bad enough. She of the smirking face got off with less than she deserved.

    My heart breaks yet again for the Christians and Newsomes.

  5. donchais
    03/03/2012 at 10:05 am

    My opinion is, 4 juries heard and assessed the forensics and testimony and did their jobs. To invalidate their findings, spend millions of dollars on retrials, put the families through this torture again, is unconscionable and cruel. Shame on Judge Blackwood and his political correctness and misguided ruling.

    No, I did not get to see the entire TBI report, only the redacted version Blackwood released, but I do believe the State AG Office got the whole report and they know of what they speak!

    It’s time the legal system stops pandering to criminals and starts acknowledging victims rights!

  6. David In TN
    03/05/2012 at 1:32 am

    To the comments above, I would add that Cobbins took the stand against his attorney’s wishes and pretty much negated the defense he had put up for him. Cobbins basically confirmed the case against him. Furthermore, Cobbins’ testimony is on youtube.

    When the tape of the Cobbins trial was shown on In Session, most of the talking heads were surprised he didn’t get the death penalty considering the nature of the crime, the DNA evidence, and what he said on the stand.

    Why should Cobbins be tried again?

    There was never a problem with the evidence. There was no prosecutorial or juror misconduct (aside from leniency regarding Cobbins and Coleman).

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